Destination Maternity Files for Bankruptcy, 183 Stores Closing

October 24, 2019 Updated: October 24, 2019

Destination Maternity, the largest retailer of maternity clothing, has filed for bankruptcy and will shutter 183 stores, it was reported.

The closures will affect the Destination Maternity stores as well as its other brands, including Motherhood Maternity and A Pea in the Pod, reported Fox Business and Bizjournals.com on Wednesday.

Earlier this week, Lisa Gavales, chair of the office of the CEO, confirmed the bankruptcy filing. She cited “a challenging retail environment” for the filing and closures, according to Fox.

As reported by USA Today, court documents filed by the firm also blamed declining birth rates, high rent costs, and leadership turnover. The chain has had five CEOs in the past five years.

Destination Maternity has not been able to turn a profit since 2014, according to Bizjournals, which noted that the firm has struggled ever since then. And in 2018, Bank of America ended a $77 million refinancing commitment that was announced in late 2018.

The firm employs a little over 1,100 full-time and about 2,300 part-time employees, and it owns 438 U.S. stores as of February 2019, CNBC noted. It owned 362 Motherhood Maternity stores, 26 Pea in the Pod stores, and 70 Destination Maternity stores.

Liquidation sales will be held at the closing locations and will be completed by the end of 2019. The process will be carried out by Gordon Brothers Retail Partners, USA Today reported.

Destination Maternity was created in 1982 and has operated in Philadelphia before it was moved to New Jersey. At one point, the firm had sales of $500 million.

As of Thursday, Destination Maternity’s stock was down 8.65 percent on NASDAQ.

Other Bankruptcies

Several U.S. retailers have filed for bankruptcy over the past two years, including Forever 21 and Toys ‘R’ Us.

Forever 21

The fast-fashion retailer filed late on Sunday to restructure its business and requested approval to close up to 178 U.S. stores. Forever 21 listed both assets and liabilities in the range of $1 billion to $10 billion, according to the court filing.

Payless Shoes

The U.S. discount retailer in February filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for the second time, along with its North American subsidiaries. The retailer had said it would close about 2,500 stores in North America and wind down its e-commerce operations.

Toys ‘R’ Us

The toy retailer filed for Chapter 11 in September, hoping to restructure some $5 billion in debt, much of which stemmed from a $6.6 billion leveraged buyout by private equity firms in 2005. It liquidated in 2018, a blow to hundreds of toy makers that sold products to the chain, including Barbie maker Mattel Inc and rival Hasbro Inc.

Radio Shack

The U.S. electronics chain filed for bankruptcy in March for the second time in a little over two years, faced with a challenging retail environment and an unsatisfying partnership with wireless provider Sprint Corp.

Fred’s Inc.

In September, the pharmacy and discount retailer said it filed for Chapter 11, months after the company began shuttering hundreds of unprofitable stores in the United States.

Gymboree

The children’s clothing retailer filed for bankruptcy protection in January, the second in almost two years, and said it would close more than 800 Gymboree and Crazy 8 stores.

HhGregg

The appliances and electronics retailer and its Gregg Appliances Inc unit filed for bankruptcy protection in March, as they continue struggling with declining sales for about the past four years.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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